Macquarie University
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Persona and authenticity in the war reporting memoir: creative component Shooting Balibo (non-fiction book manuscript) accompanied by an exegesis

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posted on 2022-03-29, 00:23 authored by Anthony Emanuel Maniaty
PART ONE: An extract of 45,000 words constituting the first half of a book-length, non-fiction manuscript titled Shooting Balibo: Blood and Memory in East Timor, which forms the creative component of my doctoral dissertation. The full manuscript was published in 2009 by Penguin Books. Shooting Balibo focuses on two events - my coverage as an ABC News journalist of the 1975 conflict in East Timor, in particular the killings of five Australian-based colleagues (the 'Balibo Five') by Indonesian-led forces; and my return to the independent nation of Timor-Leste in 2008 with the cast and crew of the feature film Balibo, a drama based on the events of 1975. The book was written as a memoir of my experiences as a war reporter, and the resulting trauma which I experienced; it further explores how young and inexperienced journalists handle conflict environments. These elements are juxtaposed in the book with my return to Timor-Leste in 2008, a journey aimed at finding some release from past fears by helping to recreate the events of 1975 on the film set and writing about them. The book drew strong reactions to my interpretation of events, raising questions about the power of the memoir in the public sphere, and the authenticity and reliability of literary representations of war reporting, which became the focus of my thesis research. PART TWO: An exegesis of 57,000 words which aims to illuminate the influences, processes and research that resulted in a substantial work of non-fiction, and also, by including further research and analysis, to broaden understanding of the creative production context in which a specific literary genre-memoirs written by war correspondents-has developed over the past century. Canvassed are issues regarding representation of the authorial persona, and issues of authenticity which arise in relating both the 'fact' and 'feeling' of conflict reporting experiences. The exegesis also researches war reporting as a journalistic sub-culture, and includes analyses of two major influences on the creation of Shooting Balibo-Michael Herr's memoir of the Vietnam War, Dispatches, and the war reporting memoir of the 1975 Angolan conflict by Polish correspondent Ryszard Kapuscinski, Another Day of Life.


Table of Contents

Manuscript: Shooting Balibo [extract] -- -- Exegesis: -- Note on terminology -- Prologue -- 1. Introduction -- 2. Shaping the genre -- 3. Old perspectives, new possibilities -- 4. Reassessing Dispatches: journalism astray or literary masterpiece? -- 5. The Kapuscinski enigma: a post-mortem -- 6. Evolution and innovation -- 7. On writing Shooting Balibo -- Bibliography.


"1 January 2013 Bibliography: pages 304-322 This thesis is submitted for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy (Media), Department of Media, Music, Communication & Cultural Studies, Macquarie University, Sydney, Australia".

Awarding Institution

Macquarie University

Degree Type

Thesis PhD


PhD, Department of Media, Music, Communication and Cultural Studies, Macquarie University, Australia

Department, Centre or School

Department of Media, Music, Communication and Cultural Studies

Year of Award


Principal Supervisor

Peter Doyle

Additional Supervisor 1

Noel King


Copyright disclaimer: Copyright Anthony Maniaty 2013.






1 online resources (323 pages) illustrations (coloured)

Former Identifiers

mq:37366 2134870